I don’t know if other clergy wives do this, but some years ago, my wife put various sticky notes with kindly messages into a few conspicuous places in the hymnal that I use while presiding over the liturgy. 20160606_073427_001

Every time I come across one, it makes me smile. I smile because even though I already know they’re there, I’m usually so incredibly focused on what I’m doing that when I turn the page and discover one, it’s always a surprise.

She’s good at stuff like that. Being cognizant of the age-old and ungodly statistic that at any given moment in a pastor’s ministry at least 20% of the congregation wishes he wasn’t their pastor, she puts tangible things before me in the right places and at the right moments to remind me that in addition to the Lord Himself, there’s at least one in the crowd who loves the pastor more than anything in the world.

I’m glad she’s mine.

Speaking of that 20% statistic and a loving spouse, you know what she could do to my hymnal that would be really cool? She could cut out a section just big enough to hold a miniature flask.

I’m just kidding, of course.

But if I wasn’t, you know what I’d put in the flask?

20160729_131230 Not the Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky, that’s for sure.

It’s far too syrupy in the nose, making it something that would be nearly impossible to handle in a clandestine manner. Folks would most certainly smell the sugary tree sap and buttery rye all the way in the back of the church nave.

The palate isn’t too bad, although again, it’s a creamy sorghum of mostly maple with very little else finding its way through. I know there’s rye in there somewhere. And I’m pretty sure there’s a little bit of spice swimming alongside, too. But I can’t give anything definitive with regard to their properties. There’s just too many “natural flavors” (as the label indicates) added.

The finish is medium in length, which is too long. The artificial flavoring needs to go away much more quickly. That is, unless you like walking around with your tongue glued to the roof of your mouth by whatever it is that they actually put in this stuff to give it the maple flavoring.

If you actually like whisky, this isn’t for you. If you like to pretend, then maybe. In other words, I suppose this stuff is suited for the sort of folks who want things that are kind of like the originals, but in the end, aren’t really.

In that sense, Lutherans probably shouldn’t drink this stuff. It’s better suited for non-denominationalists and mega-church goers.